The Police would like to alert members of the public to the re-emergence of a variant of China Officials Impersonation Scams. Since January 2022, there have been at least 46 victims, with losses amounting to at least $12.3 million.
Victims would typically receive unsolicited phone calls from scammers claiming to be from government agencies such as the Ministry of Health. Their calls would then be transferred to several other parties before the victims spoke to someone claiming to be from the Chinese Judicial Investigation Department. The scammer would inform the victims that they were under investigations for various offences such as illegally opening a bank account in China and money laundering offences and would request for victims’ particulars over the phone. Subsequently, the victims would receive a mobile phone and fake documents bearing the emblems of government agencies including the Singapore Police Force (SPF), Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) placed outside the victims’ residence.
Thereafter, the victims would be instructed to use the mobile phone provided to them, to communicate with the scammers through video calls via a Teams Link application, which had been preloaded into the mobile phone. In some cases, victims were instructed to provide their bank account login details, Singpass login details and One-Time Password (OTP) to the scammers. The victims would only realise that they had fallen prey when they discovered unauthorised transactions made to their bank accounts.
The Police would like to emphasise that overseas law enforcement agencies have no jurisdiction to conduct operations in Singapore, arrest anyone or ask members of the public to help with any form of investigations without the approval of the Singapore Government.
The Police would also like to advise members of the public to take the following precautions when they receive unsolicited calls claiming to be overseas law enforcement agencies:
- Beware of calls with the “+” prefix which originate from overseas;
- Ignore such calls and the caller’s instructions;
- Never share your Singpass and bank account login details and OTP with anyone, including family and friends; No government agency will instruct payment through an undocumented media like a telephone call or other social messaging platforms (WeChat or Facebook), or ask you for personal banking information such as your Internet banking passwords;
- When in doubt, always verify the authenticity of the information with the official website or sources;
- Call a trusted friend or talk to a relative before you act. You may be overwhelmed by emotion and may err in your judgment. Do not be pressured by the caller to act impulsively; and
- Report any fraudulent transactions to your bank immediately.
If you have any information related to such crimes, please call the Police Hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online at www.police.gov.sg/iwitness. If you require urgent Police assistance, please dial ‘999’.
For more information on scams, members of the public can visit www.scamalert.sg or call the Anti-Scam Hotline at 1800-722-6688. Join the ‘Spot the Signs. Stop the Crimes’ campaign at www.scamalert.sg/fight by signing up as an advocate to receive up-to-date messages and share them with your family and friends. Together, we can help stop scams and prevent our loved ones from becoming the next victim.
Images of fake documents received by victims
SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
04 March 2022 @ 10:00 PM